The evil within.
PART 1 IS THE SIPPY CUP
PART 2 IS THE ADULT GLASS
Menace Beach was released three times throughout the NES’ lifespan: once in a multi-cart, once by itself, and once as a re-skin called Sunday Funday. Color Dreams/Wisdom Tree must have assumed that kids really loved sloppy skateboarding, nonsensical hit detection, and, er, getting to Sunday School on time.
49 – HOOK
From the review: “One more reason not to play Hook: you have a dagger, but it does no damage to enemies. The game wouldn’t pose a challenge at all if you could use your weapon, but because you’re forced to jump over and around enemies, you’ll be dying quite a bit. Truthfully, I’ve always wondered if Peter Pan could die. Hook answers that question with a resounding, “Yes, thank God.”‘
Terminator 2 takes the best set pieces of the film and turns them into laborious collect-a-thons. Also, I’m pretty sure it would only take one cold terminating punch from Arnold to land you on your fleshy buttocks. In the game, it takes an average six hits before a common thug goes down, let alone bosses. It’s enough to make the steam rise from your overworked exoskeleton.
Ikari Warriors II enlarges the Paul and Vince sprites, which somehow makes them punier than the first game? From start to finish, the enemies are your virtual betters in every way. Die, die, die, my Ikari darlings. You have one life, no continues – unless you choose to input a code that lets you respawn right where you left off. About as victorious as a deflated pectoral.
46 – CASTLE OF DECEIT
Constantly regenerating too-strong enemies, poor enemy AI with no set movement pattern, bass-ackwards controls (‘B’ is jump because Castle of Deceit is a unique butterfly), stupid main character design (fuchsia pajamas? Yuck city). At least the main cover is cool. Deceiving, but cool nonetheless.
And the Color Dreams train rolls on. King Neptune’s Adventure is a non-linear underwater suck-scursion. Enemies appear out of nowhere on top of Neptune. I know the control is probably supposed to be floaty, but boy, is it floaty. Weapons are limited to the point of insanity. Where’s my infinite supply of tridents!
44 – WAYNE’S WORLD
Play as Wayne and Garth in this curious creation loosely based on… the film? That doesn’t explain the living musical instrument enemies. Nor does it explain why Wayne and Garth share a life bar. Or why Wayne’s karate kick is one of the worst attacks in the history of video games. A most excellent bummer.
From the review: “Simply put, The Last Crusade (1993 Remix) is nigh unplayable. It’s not that the controls are bad. In fact, the controls are a marked improvement over the original Last Crusade. No, what ravages this particular game are the monochromatic, bleached graphics; the cheap shots the enemies take; the lunging backwards every time Indy gets hit; the ‘there for no reason’ uber-short time limit; the too-low life bar; the boring, meandering levels; the overblown character model for Indy himself; the way life depletes as you’re falling through the air.”
Back in the early days of my quest, I would give a game an ‘F’ if it looked at me funny. Pool of Radiance gave me the all-encompassing stink eye. Drab, similar-looking environments left me cold. “That’s it?” you say. Well, yeah. I was impatient, reckless, foolish – but I could also tell a bad game from a good one. This game… it’s not my kinda game.
41 – STAR WARS
I don’t care what quadrant of the galaxy you’re from: Star Wars is a wobbling pile of Bantha dung. Why all the weak weaponry, mediocre level design, unclear objectives? And why is Boba Fett the most powerful boss in existence? He spews orbs out of every pore! Porbs, I tell you! PORBS!
40 – DARKMAN
I know Darkman isn’t supposed to be the most powerful superhero of all time, but surely he can use his dukes, right? Any Joe Six-Pack can put one fist in front of the other to knock out some unassuming truckers. Should you figure out how to lift Darkman’s fists, a generic licensed piece of garbage is your reward.
39 – BATTLE CHESS
A game of chess usually takes a fair amount of time; particularly if you’re playing against an opponent who knows what they’re doing. Battle Chess is the slowest chess game in existence. The. Slowest. You will have thought five moves ahead before the computer can move their first pawn or knight. An embarrassment to the most regal of games.
38 – WAYNE GRETZKY HOCKEY
Before Bethesda was rolling in Elder Scrolls gold, they paid the rent through an unholy union with THQ. Wanye Gretzky Hockey was one of the results of said union, an unpolished clusterfluff of a hockey game. Your team’s sprites, the other team’s sprites – who knows? Too much flickering, too many pixels. Not even The Great One himself knows what’s happening.
Secret Scout fights for Troop #374. He’ll fight whoever comes across his path in the Temple of Demise: ’80s loan sharks, the Mafia, ancient Biblical tribes like the Ammonites or the Hittites. Secret Scout has spirit, but his main weapon – a kick – not-so-secretly sucks. When your enemies are packin’ spears, arrows, and bullets, it’s best to run away. Scout’s honor.
36 – SUPERMAN
I’m beginning to see a trend with bad superhero games: limit the hero’s powers (not even a super punch is effective), make them vulnerable to anything (including, according to the review, a mobster’s coattails), and see how long the player waits to break the game in half. Unless the game code is covered in kryptonite, there’s no excuse for how weak Superman is.
35 – COOL WORLD
“Cool World”: Brad Pitt’s hunkiest hour or Ralph Bakshi nonsense? I’d personally choose the latter, though I’d rather watch the film with my eyes held open a la´ “Clockwork Orange” than play another five minutes of the game adaptation. Squirrels in fedoras with tommyguns are cool and all, but ambiguous objectives and unending bullet barrages wear on the ol’ psyche.
34 – DEATHBOTS
Deathbots is aptly named: in the game, there are numerous bringer-of-death bots. Their shots are hard to avoid, they run into you kamikaze-style, and their numbers are legion compared to your blue-suited space doofus. A hedonistic, maddening free-for-all.
33 – STAR VOYAGER
Star Voyager amounts to little more than Asteroids with obtuse window dressing. Just look at that screenshot: you’d think SV was a Koei sim in space, but it isn’t. Warp somewhere, wait for enemies, keep waiting for enemies, shoot the enemies, then wish you were playing a slightly more fulfilling game – like Deathbots.
32 – MAD MAX
We’re approaching the nearly unplayable games now; games so broken, so pointless, so tortured in their existence, their only source of pleasure lies in abusing the player. Mad Max rends the player in twain with its meaninglessness, busted control, and repetitive stages.
31 – CONAN
From the review: “Graphics, music, control – Conan has ’em all, though none of them perform their required duties. Conan’s world, the enemies, and Conan himself all look like they were fashioned out of silly putty; not the good, authentic Silly Putty, but the dollar store kind that was fashioned out of disintegrated brick scraps from abandoned buildings.” Also, because jump is assigned to ‘Up’ and ‘Down’ and ‘A’ or ‘B,’ attacks and jumps often get intermingled. Conan is a cornucopia of crap.
Taboo isn’t even a game, so what is it doing on this list of worst NES games? Well, it’s the worst fake tarot card reader that’s ever purported to be a game so I’m counting it. Even if you believe in this stuff, you won’t be engaging Taboo to figure out what your next step in life should be.
29 – DAY DREAMIN’ DAVEY
Day Dreamin’ Davey has one of the worst concepts ever to befoul consoles. Kids entering their daydreams? Sure, I can get on board with that. But a kid falling asleep whenever he gets harassed by bullies, teachers, society? That’s just odd, particularly for a game that’s ostensibly set in the “real world.” And why does Davey have to look and act like such a tool? Even in his dreams, I felt like I was lowering myself by playing as him. Maybe that reads harsh, but when the game portrays their main character as a narcoleptic loser, it’s difficult to think otherwise.
Bill & Ted’s plops Bill (or Ted) in the middle of a field with no direction. People swarm the surroundings. You need to talk to them, but when you do, you’ll either get your money stolen, thrown in jail, or given useless information. Why does everyone want to hurt Bill and Ted? What is their purpose in this game? Bill and Ted can jump, but they can barely walk (a commentary on their drug abuse?). There’s a mini-game where you have to guide circuits between phone lines. LJN, I just, I don’t even-
27 – 720°
One of the worst skateboarding games of all time. When jumping and landing on your skateboard is impossible, you know you’ll never bust out a 360 kick-flip and live to tell the tale. Off-time music, scrawled graphics, and a bitter-beer face is all 720 has to offer shred-heads.
Too high of a number for this infamous atrocity? Yeah, maybe. Heroes of the Lance is considered by many to be one of the worst NES games of all time. Imagine playing a PC game haphazardly ported to an NES. The controls don’t work (no really, they don’t), the graphics are offensive to the eyes, switching between the game’s eight characters is cumbersome, the magic system brings the game to a halt. Just think: there are twenty-five more games worse than Heroes. God help us.